All posts tagged The Future of Drones

The Future of Drones: Wikistrat Report

The Future of Drones

The Future of Drones

The drone age is coming. It has been estimated that annual spending on them around the world will almost double to $11.4 billion by 2022. This may prove to be an underestimation as the range of applications to which they are put expands rapidly. As is often the case, the new technology has been driven by the military, and drones are still identified with targeted killings, but this is likely to rapidly change as their civilian uses grow.

This drone revolution has massive implications, ranging from legal and moral to economic and geopolitical. It will be a deeply disruptive technology, able on the one hand to provide undreamt-of capacities to impoverished people and countries, and on the other to widen the gap between haves and have-nots. It may prove a creative, empowering experience, but also has the potential to be destructive, destabilizing and divisive.

In this simulation, Wikistrat asked its strategic community to explore the ways in which drone technologies of every kind could reshape political, economic, social, security, environmental and legal landscapes over the next twenty years and in the process the look and feel of a future world after the “drone revolution.” Across 12 days, 90 analysts from around the world collaboratively developed some fifty scenarios as to their possible uses and implications. Read More →

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Insights from the Wiki: Drones Revolutionize Farming

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Wikistrat recently concluded a geostrategic simulation titled “The Future of Drones.” The following is a scenario produced in the simulation called “Drones Revolutionize Farming.”

Agricultural applications will be one of the most important and popular civil uses of drones within the next decade. The ability for one person with a little tech knowledge to take over all surveying, fertilizing, seeding, and dusting will transform the agricultural industry.

Drones, including both fixed wing aircraft and quadcopters, are uniquely suited to provide affordable surveying and multi-spectral imaging capacity to farmers who want to maximize their crop yields and reduce the amount they pay for labor. Drones will greatly enhance farmers’ ability to obtain and utilize multi-spectral and hyper-spectral imagining to detect issues with crops before they harm crop yields. Disease and nutrient deficiencies will become more preventable with the help of drones.

Drones also have the ability to autonomously lay seeds, fertilize soil, and spray pesticides. All farmers will have to do is program the drones to fly a certain pattern over their fields. This will effectively automate most of the farming process, including harvesting which will be done by autonomous tractors and other vehicles. Since drones will be able to fly at low altitudes too low for manned vehicles, the spraying of pesticides can be more exact, resulting in more precise spraying with less drift beyond the limits of the field sprayed.

In addition, drones would be used by cattle farmers to keep count of their livestock either stolen or gone astray, or assist farmers in the herding of their cattle – keeping them in a safe area or driving them to market or to/from grazing areas. While animal welfare groups would use drones to monitor any wrong-doing at factory farms such as checking feedlots and gathering evidence where farming activities cause animals horrible distress. Read More →

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New Wikistrat Simulation: The Future of Drones

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Editor’s Note: Wikistrat’s latest community-wide simulation, “The Future of Drones”, has just launched and will run from July 18th to July 29th.

Drones are rapidly becoming “the gun that won globalization” or “settled” the many “frontiers” associated with that historical phenomenon’s incredibly fast expansion – in its modern form – over the past two to three decades.

Like this modern expression of globalization, drones arrive with a distinct American pedigree and initial applications (the so-called “Long War”). But, as with any aspect of globalization, these technologies and applications quickly mutate beyond such origins into something far larger and more profound, essentially reshaping the future landscapes of conflict, law enforcement, social control, and government itself. The temptation here is to resort to fatalistic Orwellian projections (“It all represents a huge extension of government power!”), but in truth, we are just at the beginning of a very long and highly fluid legal/political tussle over the proper uses of drone technologies – with virtually nothing “carved in stone” at this time.

In this simulation, Wikistrat asks its strategic community to tell the specific story of ways in which one future application of drone technologies (air/maritime/land unmanned vehicle) reshapes political, economic, social, security, environmental and legal landscapes. The focus here is on tracking imagined secondary/tertiary/beyond consequences – in effect, helping the reader to understand the appearance and feel of a future world full of drone applications.

Want to participate in simulations like these? Apply for membership to the analytic community here.

Stay tuned to Wikistrat’s Facebook and Twitter channels for updates and insights from this simulation!

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